Dialogue is an essential means of establishing appropriate contact between the doctor and patient. Professional ethics and the deeply-developed sense of empathy that goes alongside them allow the doctor to go beyond “invisible barriers” and enter a deeper sphere of human existence – the sphere of the soul, which is the principle space of dialogue in the mystery of suffering, dying and death.
In the dehumanizing process of modern medicine, it is typical for the doctor and not the sick patient to decide the role of illness and suffering, though it should be the reverse. The patient is brought down to the level of an object, to a unit of illness which must be diagnosed, treated and in such a way allowing the doctor to notch up another potential success.
Dialogue or the isolation of the ill, suffering and dying person are the real test of not only the medical ethos, but also of humanity and culture built by mankind (including the ill and dying), broadly understood. Only a personally detailed and soulful dialogue on hope and the meaning of suffering provides a chance for affirmation of the art of healing in the doctor-patient relationship.
Searching for the ideal of the doctor in his or her behaviour towards a dying person, it is necessary to point out the existence of an absolute ethical standard, unchanged for centuries and concerning not only doctors, but every human being. This is why the doctor’s ability to enter into personalistic dialogue, which brings the dying patient into a world of transcendental, and thus unbreakable values, opening a new horizon in front of him or her of the new prospect of an eternal dimension of life makes, at this critical and at the same time decisive moment, his or her life possible, and allows him or her to achieve hope and faith. This is not only about religious faith, but also (and perhaps first and foremost) faith in mankind, the belief that one is not left alone, and for everything which is ill, in the overwhelming suffering which he or she experiences there is a deep meaning not only for the ill person, but also for the people surrounding him or her, including the doctor himself.
Personalistic medical ethics are able to ensure authentic dialogue between the doctor and patient. The current crisis of humanity, values and interpersonal dialogue inclines us even more to accept the personalistic model of dialogue in medicine.